Blockchain: Using technology to improve traceability in the coffee sector

The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on importers, especially in the coffee sector. Below we share our latest market research with you.

The blockchain buzz in the coffee sector is real. In recent years, an increasing number of blockchain projects have been set up by NGOs, support organisations and the private sector. Many believe that blockchain technology could improve accuracy, traceability and efficiency in the supply chain.

Blockchain projects

One recent project is the blockchain-based platform Farmer Connect. This platform aims to improve traceability in the global coffee supply chain. The platform has big industry partners such as Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Sucafina and Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers. Farmer Connect is also going to target consumers with an app called Thank My Farmer. It was launched in January in Las Vegas.

Other blockchain examples include platforms like Beyco and GrainChain. Also, the first blockchain coffee auction Yave launched in 2019, as well as a blockchain-based marketplace created by the Indian Coffee Board.

What is blockchain?

By bringing together information about end-users and producers, blockchain can create and strengthen relationships. It allows roasters to make safe claims of direct trade. It also gives producers the tools to share up-to-date and accurate information about their harvests. This lowers risks and may even strengthen and increase the possibilities for producers to take out loans, for example. Consumers also profit, as they are better informed about the journey, origin and sustainability of their coffee.

Blockchain technology records transactions in a verifiable and permanent way. Via blockchain,  products can be traced back through their entire journey, from farm to cup. This allows a roaster to verify the origin of the coffee and check how much was paid for it at every step of the chain. Producers can also see where their coffee ended up, and for what price.


But there are also downsides. Producer accessibility to blockchain technology remains an issue. This is mainly due to poor connectivity in rural areas. Low awareness within the sector on the possible benefits of this technology is also preventing it from being used.

To read more about blockchain and other interesting developments on the European coffee market, go to our coffee market intelligence page.

This news article was written for CBI by ProFound.

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